State Rep. Terry Blair has died after battling an unspecified illness, according to Ohio House Republicans spokesman Mike Dittoe.
Blair, who served 21 years as a Washington Twp. trustee, had been serving his third term in the Ohio House representing southern Montgomery County. He was 67.
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, said Blair was a straight shooter.
“The thing about Terry is what you saw with Terry is what you got,” Perales said. “That’s probably overused, but I think everyone would agree Terry didn’t hide anything. He wasn’t a poker player or he wasn’t a House of Cards type guy.”
Perales said Blair always knew why he was a township trustee — where he served eight terms as president — and state representative, and that was to serve the people.
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State Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, agreed: “He was just a true gentleman who cared a lot about his community, a lot about the service to the people that he represented whether it was as a trustee or as member of the House. And this is just a very sad day for everyone.”
Washington Twp. Trustee Joyce Young recalled Blair’s days serving on the township zoning board and the work he did for it as a trustee while serving with her in the 1990s and the first decade of this century.
“You look at the way our township is laid out and the way our zoning is and you have to say these people knew what they were doing … he had so much to do with it,” Young said. “You just have to say thank you, Terry.”
Young said Blair had a passion for protecting property owners’ rights and working for “the common good.” She said Blair worked to get HB 277, a bill focused on property rights, through the Ohio House.
Blair set a standard for how elected officials should conduct themselves, other Washington Twp. officials said in a statement.
“Terry Blair was a champion of good government, both as a township trustee and as a representative for our district,” said Scott Paulson, president of the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees. “He embodied the qualities that make an excellent leader, focusing on cooperation and collaboration, maintaining high ethical standards, and putting his community first.”
With his experience in management, finance and economics, Blair took particular satisfaction in fiscal oversight, said township Administrator Jesse Lightle.
“Terry understood the value of township government, both as a trustee and as a representative to the Ohio General Assembly. He was a passionate advocate of grassroots government who believed deeply that local government should always be accountable to its citizens.”
He was chief financial officer of Buckeye Pools Inc. and earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
He was active in community organizations such as the American Business Club of Dayton, the Noon Optimist Club of Centerville and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners.
Blair and his wife, Judy, had been married for 45 years. He was a father of four — Tiffany, Holly, Emily and David — and grandfather of eight.
Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, said in a written statement that Blair had been “a very dear friend of mine whose integrity was above reproach and I am deeply saddened by today’s news.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who is also a state representative, said in a written statement: “Although we worked on opposite sides of the aisle in the Ohio House of Representatives, I always appreciated state Rep.Blair’s generosity and collegiality. He will be truly be missed by his family, constituents, and his colleagues in the Ohio House of Representatives.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued the following statement: “I was saddened to hear of the passing of Rep. Terry Blair. He served Montgomery County well, was dedicated to his work in the House and as chair of the State and Local Government Committee and was liked by his colleagues. My family’s thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Judy, and their children and grandchildren at this difficult time.”
In 2006, Blair was under investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission when a Washington Twp. zoning inspector filed a complaint over Blair’s votes on zoning issues that may have involved his business, Buckeye Pools. Ethics Commission Executive Director Paul Nick said Thursday that Blair was cleared in that investigation of any wrongdoing.
Blair was a member of the Church of the Incarnation on Far Hills Avenue in Centerville for decades, serving on it finance committee, as a lectoral minister and was involved in fundraising, said Tim Niesel, a pastoral associate with the church.
“With Terry’s public service life, that was typical,” he said. “Service to others was a big part of his life – serving other people.
“He was a very conscious person and a very caring person,” Niesel said. “His faith was very important to him.”
Visitation is 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Routsong Funeral Home, 81 N. Main St. Centerville. Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 a.m. Monday at The Church of The Incarnation, 7415 Far Hills Ave., Centerville, which will be followed by burial at Centerville Cemetery.